Some snow has finally fallen - enough to satisfy this Canadian-born woman’s heart for now. The distant homes look like house-shaped igloos against the horizon, their roofs blanketed by the white sparkling powder.
We’ve gone through a range of weathers in the last few days — a bit like my emotions lately.
A few times this week I stepped out to get a blast of air after full hours of taxes and figures, needing to clear my head. Numbers and I are not close friends, as I told my sister. If anything, we are more like distant acquaintances.
One evening, when my head reached its limit with sums and lists, I decided to step out into the bracing weather, regardless of the decreasing light. The wind was howling. I stopped for a while to look down at the full burn rushing into the sea. When the winds became too strong and the hail started to pellet down, the darkness descending further, I went home, feeling more settled in myself and ready to make the transition from numbers to cooking.
Yesterday involved a longer walk on the beach during one of the clear intervals between blowing wind and heavy rain. The clouds had cleared one section of sky, revealing a patch of bright blue where the half moon was hanging. A ‘day moon’ as my friend called it. A beautiful image.
Day moon - that fingerprint in the sky and a lovely companion as I made my way to the shore.
At the sea I took my time and walked as far as the tide and temporary clear skies would allow, collecting limpet shells and washed up bits of buoy, stuffing them into my pockets. I reached an outcrop of rock and realised it would take a little more effort to find my way across the slippery stone surfaces in order to get to the other side of the cliff, so I decided to save that for another day. The prospect of what is around the corner always intrigues me and tends to lure me further, but not this time. The wind was starting to pick up again, and I noticed my day moon companion had vanished behind the cloud.
Yesterday evening there were sudden bolts of lightening revealing the shape of the landscape for less than a second, followed by immediate darkness and the rumble of thunder. Thunderstorms rarely happen in the north of Scotland, let alone in winter!
There are strong associations between thunderstorms and a restless spirit. I remember in my days as a teacher in New Mexico how the pupils would become hyper on the day of an oncoming storm. It was all I could do to keep their attention. I don't know if my memory is playing tricks or not, but I also found my classes very jumpy on the day of a full moon! Perhaps there's something in that ancient tradition of moons and madness (hence the term, 'lunacy'). It is true that my emotions have reflected the instability of the thunder recently, but for me, the day moon is now bringing a sense of calm and light.
High above, in the vast blue sky, the moon is still reclining in it's first quarter.
I look forward to when it reaches it's fullness on the 28th of January, which is just around the corner.
Here is a poem called ‘Day Moon’ by Roger Robinson who received the TS Elliot prize last year for his poetry. And while it is still far too early for heather on the hills, it is a beautiful piece:
It beckons, this spirit-filled mist,
like some earthly firmament, this quilted sage
and moss expanse can blank out a racist
boss; its trails will heal our trials and rage.
We hear the cadence of our boots,
walking beneath these branches bent
into regal arches; talking till we soothe
our too-full minds, we walk for miles.
Next week we'll see the heathers bloom.
Like us, some may forget they thrive
until, watched by this full-day moon,
like ancient rocks lying where they please,
we're couched by this soft earth and these dry weeds.